Thursday, July 11, 2013

In The Absence Of Self, Who Or What Is Reborn?

Giorgi Goguadze:
If there is no Self, then what/who is being reborn?
Like ·  · Follow Post · July 3 at 12:08am

Albert Hong: A causal continuance that has never even begun.
July 3 at 12:31am via mobile · Like

John Ahn:
July 3 at 12:31am · Like · 1

Soh: This is a rather common question, glad you asked.

Ven Dhammanando answered it well:

QUOTE(Darkknight @ Jan 8 2007, 06:17 AM)
Q. So there is no self (Atman). so what exactly is it that is reborn, and how does what is reborn pass from one body to another?
Thanks in advance for any answers received. bow.gif


The question is wrongly put and the Buddha's reponse when asked such a question was to reject it as an improper question. Having rejected the question he would then inform the questioner of what he ought to have asked: "With what as condition is there birth?"

The reason that it is an improper question is that rebirth is taught as the continuation of a process, and not as the passing on of any sort of entity. For a more complete exposition of the subject see Mahasi Sayadaw's Discourse on Paticcasamuppada.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Another reply by Dhammanando:


QUOTE(Avalokiteshvara @ Jan 8 2007, 09:11 AM)
Wrongly put or not the answer is still the same.


The "what?" in the question takes for granted the very thing that the Buddha rejects — that there is some real entity in this life that is transferred to the being in the next life. Since this assumption is wrong, the question as phrased has no answer and must be rejected.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu 


In the //Milindapanha// the King asks Nagasena:

"What is it, Venerable Sir, that will be reborn?"

"A psycho-physical combination (//nama-rupa//), O King."

"But how, Venerable Sir? Is it the same psycho-physical
combination as this present one?"

"No, O King. But the present psycho-physical combination produces kammically wholesome and unwholesome volitional activities, and through such kamma a new psycho-physical combination will be born."
July 3 at 12:37am · Edited · Like · 2

Giorgi Goguadze: "rebirth is taught as the continuation of a process"

If there is no witness of process, how can you call it rebirth?
July 3 at 12:47am · Like

Giorgi Goguadze: "Buddha rejects — that there is some real entity in this life that is transferred to the being in the next life"

So there is unreal entity which is transferred?
July 3 at 12:48am · Edited · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: No
July 3 at 12:50am · Like

Soh: Giorgi: There is no entity being transferred.

It is rebirth like a candle lights up another candle - the current flame and previous flame are not the same nor different.
July 3 at 12:51am · Like · 2

Piotr Ludwiński:
July 3 at 12:53am · Like

Giorgi Goguadze: Soh so there is no consciousness which is being reborn, right? However the fire of candle which is now can remember being fire in another candle some other time before, is it so? If so, there is some sort of connection between fires, it has a capacity to remember
July 3 at 12:58am · Like

Soh: Giorgi, there is consciousness being reborn. But this consciousness is not an entity, not something independent of conditions, not something changeless, not a soul. It is a dependently originated phenomena. Based on a previous karmic mental factor ripening, a rebirth-consciousness or linking-consciousness is being born that together with meeting the father and mother are the three conditions in which rebirth takes place. You can remember the past because consciousness has imprints. But it is not a substantial entity in anyway, it is just a continuity of a causal process.
July 3 at 1:01am · Like · 3

Giorgi Goguadze: This is more clear, thanks
July 3 at 1:12am · Like · 1

Robert Dominik: There are other metaphors than candles. Waves coming - the previous wave, the next wave... and so on. Or pieces of domino.
July 3 at 1:20am · Edited · Like

Soh: Malcolm's reply to this same question (lengthier):


QUOTE(Avalokiteshvara @ Jan 7 2007, 11:02 PM) I understand what you are saying but the "what" doesnt necessarily have to mean one thing like some real entity it could also mean many things. I dont think any assumptions were being made it is just a question anyway nothing right or wrong about it. * *


The point is that the question is phrased wrong requiring at best an ambigious answer that will confuse more than edify.

Buddha in fact discussed this with Sharputra saying that if he answers the question "yes there is something that undergoes birth" people will become confused and assuem there is a permanent self that undergoes retribution of action and so on. Likewise, if he answers the question "no, there is nothing which undergoes rebirth" likewise there are those who will assume there are no consequences of action and so on and will therefore feel no compelling need observe the principles of karma and so on.

Therefore when asked the question "what takes rebirth" he points out that question itself is flawed.

The question should be "Why is there birth?" The answere to that question is easy. There is birth, i.e. suffering, because of affliction and action.

As long as the aggregates are afflicted, afflicted aggregates will continue to be appropriated.

In Madhyamaka it is explained there is birth because of the innate self-grasping "I am" appearing to the afflicted mind. It is asserted that what appropriates birth in a new series of aggregates is the mental habit "I am." That "I am" is baseless, has no correspondence in the aggregates or seperate from them or in any one of them, just as a car is not found in its parts, seperate from them, or in any one of the parts. Nevertheless, the imputation "car" allows us to use cars effectively. Likewise, the mental habit "I am" is proper as both the agent of action and the object upon which it ripens even though it is basically unreal and has no basis in the aggregates, outside the aggregates, or in any one of them, but allows us to treat the aggreates as a nominally designated "person".
July 3 at 1:30am · Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: Rebirth is a convention. There has never been any rebirth for there has never been any birth ...
July 3 at 2:06am · Like · 2

Piotr Ludwiński: I've read Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche's advice recently that we should be able to discern when we should use conventional level, when we should speak about emptiness and when we should point out to dharmata. Otherwise we won't ever help anyone. // Although rebirth is convention it does not in any way deny functionality of it; just like "car" is abstraction and you can't objectify phenomenon called car, same goes with rebirth. Imho it is good to discern this; cause simply saying that rebirth is convention may lead one without emptiness understanding/insights into annihilationism
July 3 at 2:12am · Like · 5

Piotr Ludwiński:
July 3 at 2:21am · Like · 1

Giorgi Goguadze: Serge Sönam Zaludkowski it's like there has never been any you and any me, and in NOW there is no one also... and there is no suffering and no sufferer... OK, yes but this is when you get "there", until we are here there is me, there is you, there is suffering
July 3 at 2:22am · Like

Giorgi Goguadze: simply pointing to that does not lead anywhere..
July 3 at 2:23am · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: Actually emptiness is not a stage (both firstfold and secondfold)
July 3 at 2:25am · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: Otherwise nirvana would be mentally construed false reality
July 3 at 2:25am · Like · 1

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: All intelligent thoughts, but when a person is asking "If there is no Self, then what/who is being reborn?" ... what is he expecting? If one is thinking in term of beginning, birth, what kind of answer is he expecting other than death? Rebirth is part of the dream ...
July 3 at 3:33am · Edited · Like

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: The defilements exist neither in objects, sense-faculties, in between, nor
In any other place. So where do they abide and harm all beings?
It is like an apparition, so one should try to understand how to free the heart of fear of them.
- Bodhicaryavatara -
July 3 at 4:05am · Like · 1

Helen Tam-Semmens: self and rebirth is as much illusion as this physical world we are in, ie, as 'real' as we perceive it to be; abandon all concept of self and rebirth and anything else, use intellect only to the end of exhausting it and be free from it; be a new born at this moment, and one would SEE naturally what IS; a direct knowledge that no explanation is needed, no word can convey
July 3 at 9:41am · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: no good. people use same cliche for different insights often mistaking entirely conditioned experience for "reality".
July 3 at 9:43am · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: one cannot force oneself to abandong dualistic and inherent framework without insight
July 3 at 9:44am · Like

Helen Tam-Semmens: a looong time ago, i read all the philosophy and religious books and tried to reason the truth out; finally, i reasoned out that reason won't get me there; then intellect retreated and a revelation came that i truly love and respect all human beings; only when that Love manifested in me that the brightest and most loving Light and direct knowledge came; all answers are there without reason, without word, even without questions; it was that simple; and i realized that my intellectual exercise before was useless and an obstacle; one cannot talk or reason the path; one can simply walk it and all will be revealed
July 3 at 10:58am · Like · 1

Piotr Ludwiński: But there is no one global experience of awakening; that is what I meant that people mistake entirely conditioned experience and feel that it is all there is. Deeply rooted framework of inherent existence and duality won't dissolve by itself.
July 3 at 11:03am · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: "On one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying in Kosambi, at Ghosita's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Friends!"

"Yes, friend," the monks responded.

Ven. Ananda said: "Friends, whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of four paths. Which four?

"There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquillity. As he develops insight preceded by tranquillity, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight. As he develops tranquillity preceded by insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity in tandem with insight. As he develops tranquillity in tandem with insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk's mind has its restlessness concerning the Dhamma [Comm: the corruptions of insight] well under control. There comes a time when his mind grows steady inwardly, settles down, and becomes unified & concentrated. In him the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of these four paths."
July 3 at 11:05am · Like

Viorica Doina Neacsu: Very nice comment Helen  I totally resonate with your sharing 
July 3 at 11:05am · Like

Helen Tam-Semmens: Piotr you said, 'Deeply rooted framework of inherent existence and duality won't dissolve by itself.' There are numerous practices to help dissolve that, including discourse. But discourse is like Zen koan, which is meant to help one drop the intellect in order to directly SEE, therefore an intermediate path that would run its course and ultimately need to be abandoned. There are numerous practices that are beneficial to one then. For instance, one can simply be conscious of everything, watch oneself do, and watch oneself not do, and distinguish that one is not this (e.g. ego), and one is not that (e.g. intellect), etc, will dissolve all duality and illusions. For some, this silent practice is not as easy, such as those who used certain entheogenic drugs before. The illusion has been cracked by the entheogens, however, the mind and energy can be somewhat chaotic without proper training. And so the method of mantras and chanting to focus the mind can be especially beneficial.
July 3 at 11:43am · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: Dissociative tactic that distinguishes what one is not (intellect and "ego") from what one is is still samsaric mind merely manifesting golden chains which are still entirely based on dualistic and inherent view.
July 3 at 11:49am · Edited · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: That is why for example this approach does not necessarily apply to "will dissolve all duality and illusions."
July 3 at 11:48am · Like

Piotr Ludwiński:
July 3 at 11:49am · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: This is merely helpful map and nothing more... but the point is that all these stages mentioned there are quite common in spiritualty and unfortunately it is equally common for seekers to prematurely conclude that they have reached "truth" cause all these various realizations and experiences have vibe of "being final) in them
July 3 at 11:56am · Edited · Like

Helen Tam-Semmens: Simply walk down the path, and one will see where turning is necessary. No talking can do the walking. Love you, Piotr 
July 3 at 12:04pm · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: "Perfect enlightenment (Samyak Sambodhi) is attained through wisdom (gyan), morals (sheel), and the meditative state (samadhi)." ~ Dharma Sangha
July 3 at 12:04pm · Like

Helen Tam-Semmens: Gyan is not intellect though. Gyan is direct knowledge that can be attained through self-examination or discernment or sambodhi. I remember Dharma Sangha said something along the line that one should not use intellect to understand him.
July 3 at 12:14pm · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: No one said gyan is intellect. But intellect also does have it's proper role and function.
July 3 at 12:15pm · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: One cannot just "abandon" concept of self etc without view, experience and realization of selflessness/dependent origination. I am stressing this due to disease of non-conceptuality ( )
July 3 at 12:21pm · Edited · Like

Helen Tam-Semmens: one can do anything, if one ceases to BELIEVE that one cannot and has to arrange everything in order
July 3 at 12:22pm · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: Cease to believe you can't fly and jump out of window. Unfortunately necessary secondary causes and conditions for your flight are not present so you probably won't be able to soar like bird (for example wings are not there I pressume). Same is with realization of selflessness where refining of insight, tranquility and view of dependent origination serves as conditions.
July 3 at 12:25pm · Edited · Like · 1

Helen Tam-Semmens: Ha, of course one can fly and jump out of window! When I typed this, one actually flew and jumped out of a window in some conscious dimension, which has coherent implication to this very physical reality. The world is much more magical than our mind is conditioned to box us in.
July 3 at 12:28pm · Like

1 comment:

  1. If there is no self, then what/who is being reborn in the Tulku tradition?
    And in the case of the HH Dalai Lama, who or what is reborn?